Barto to Chair Health and Human Services Committee

November 26, 2008 by  

Speaker-elect Kirk Adams announced committee chairmanships in the House of Representatives for the upcoming session last week – an event members have been anxious for since the election. It had been my hope to be assigned the responsibility to chair Health and Human Services as I have focused much of my energy in these areas having served on both committees for the last two years. Combining the two committees makes sense, as well, since so many health and human services issues overlap, giving committee members a broader perspective as they deliberate bills.

Issues regularly assigned to the Health & Human Services Committees include those affecting families, abortion and end-of-life issues, child protection and foster care, welfare, developmental disabilities, medical malpractice, health insurance, professional regulatory boards, drug and alcohol treatment and mental health – among others.

Further committee member assignments have not been announced. Last year many members were assigned up to five committees, which was too many, in my opinion. Under the new leadership there are fewer committees and the expectation is fewer committee assignments for each member.

This week House members are meeting with leadership to communicate our priorities for the upcoming session – then to strategize to accomplish them. Committee chairmen have the perogative to “hold” bills assigned to their committees, so it is critical to have chairmen in place who advance our reform agenda.

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